Police Say Frightened Visitors Maced Man During Road Rage Incident
The incident began in front of the Salem Fire Station Saturday afternoon.
Police say a man was maced Saturday during a road rage incident that occurred in the area of New Derby/Derby Street.
At 3:23 p.m., police said they received a 911 call from a woman who reported a man in a red pick-up truck followed her and her husband in the car and "at one point…pulled in front of [their car] and blocked Derby street in front of the Friendship" before approaching the car in a manner the woman described as "threatening."
Police said the woman was upset, and though police suggested she come to the station and file a report, she said she didn't want to and hung up.
Before hanging up, police said the woman told dispatch it appeared the pick-up truck driver was "looking for/reaching for" a weapon in the back of the truck.
Ten minutes later, police said a man came into the station to report a road rage incident that occurred on New Derby Street by the Salem Fire Department.
Police said the man had a red pick-up truck and the same plate as the one the previous caller reported.
The man said he was in traffic in front of the Salem Fire Department, and the car to his right wanted to go straight even though it was in the right lane, according to police. The man told police he told the driver he had to turn right, and the car stayed straight, cutting him off, according to authorities.
At the next intersection, the man told the officer he pulled in front of the car and told the driver that he had just cut him off, police said. Then, the pick-up truck driver said the man in the car didn't listen and headed toward the Willows.
The man then told police "he pulled in front of the car and exited his truck in an attempt to talk with the driver of the grey car." Police said the man told them "that he walked up to the driver's side window and was maced in the face and chest area," before the car continued in the direction of the Willows.
Police said the pick-up truck driver told them he got in his truck and followed the car down to the power plant and back up Essex Street.
The driver denied looking for or reaching for a weapon in his vehicle, police said. When the officer asked the man if he could check the back of the truck, he complied, and police said in plain view, the officer saw "a metal rod with a hook at the end of it."
When questioned, police said the man told them "he was a fisherman and uses it on his boat to retrieve lobster traps." Police said they would keep the hook until speaking to the other people involved.
After hearing from the pick-up truck driver, and ensuring he didn't need medical attention, police said they called back the original caller. Police said the story was similar to the man in the pick-up's story, but the people said the man "was irate and kept yelling obscenities at them throughout the entire confrontation."
Police said the people told the officer they did not see a weapon, but the man continued to yell. The people told police they feared for their safety and sprayed the man when he approached them. The man who sprayed the other driver is licensed to carry mace and "was fully within his right to protect himself," police said.
Instead of going to the Willows, police said the people left and drove back home to Wakefield. Police said the officer apologized to the family (a six-year-old was in the car in addition to the couple) and "told them to please return to Salem in the future to experience a more pleasant visit."
The pick-up driver was contacted. Police said he was informed the man was licensed to use the mace, he could pick up his fishing tool and was advised to stay in his vehicle and call the police department if he finds himself in a similar situation in the future.